Law departments across Canada should see themselves, and be seen company-wide, as integral parts of their corporate clients’ businesses. As in-house counsel, we can provide much more value if we’re not merely a group that’s brought in just to give a last-minute legal blessing or to fix a problem that has already arisen. We need to convince our internal clients that we can provide the most value to them if they view us as more than a less expensive alternative to outside counsel. As the chief lawyer at Capital Power Corp. (and its predecessor) since 2004, the first part of the struggle has already been won. My company’s executives understand that having in-house counsel handle the company’s constant, core legal work is almost always preferable to hiring an outside law firm because of the relative costs. By my own calculations, which I have driven home to top management, an hour of an inside lawyer’s time, fully allocated for the lawyer’s salary, benefits, travel, training, office space, and all similar expenses, costs the company less than $100 per hour. An hour of a law firm attorney’s time, in contrast, costs between $300 and $900 per hour.
Read: Breaking the reactive cycle in-house at Canadian Lawyer Magazine